Biosecurity:  Principles of CHIP- Part 5

Biosecurity related to 4-H projects has become a focal point for many fairs and expositions. Learn the CHIP method to easily make biosecurity a part of your routine!

Pathogens, viruses and bacteria can spread quickly through animal species and cause sicknesses.  Pathogens can be spread in a variety of ways including through the air, through waste materials such as urine or feces, and through direct contact. Although there are many chances for the spread of pathogens, the management practices that animal owners follow can help reduce the spread of pathogens in the environment.  Additionally, 4-H animal exhibitors can do their part to help safeguard the animal production industry by paying particular attention to their management, both on their own farms and during exhibition.  This article will focus on the P of the biosecurity principles of CHIP—proper animal management. 

According to Michigan State University Extension, management practices are those processes that can be done to help keep your animals safe and healthy. Proper management practices that are important to keep in mind include the necessity of daily observation, maintaining proper vaccination programs, and proper feed and nutrition.

Daily observation will help owners properly monitor their animal’s health and wellbeing. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a sick animal are key in being able to monitor the animal’s overall health.  Thoroughly inspecting the animal daily for cuts, abrasions, rashes, fungus, and external parasites can help youth keep their animal healthy. Also, monitoring daily intake of water and feed is important.  Typically, an animal losing its appetite and becoming lethargic is the first symptom of illness and a cue for the owners to contact their veterinarian. 

Maintaining a proper vaccination program helps owners to ensure that their animals have strong protection against common viruses. With keeping a vaccination record, it is important to maintain proper records that contain the name of the vaccination or medication, the date it was given, the method in which it was administered, and any applicable withdrawal times for the medication.

Finally, providing animals with the proper feed and nutrition is essential in maintaining their overall health. Feed provides the nutrients that help the animal’s body function. Water is the most important nutrient for animals, so animals must have a clean and abundant source of water at all times. Proper care of water tanks include cleaning and sanitation of the tank to keep bacteria from growing. Working with an animal nutritionist will help ensure that your animal’s specific diet meets its needs at his or her current stage of life. It is important to remember that as animal’s age, their nutritional needs also change.

4-H leaders can help teach youth about the principles of CHIP by accessing and using the Animal Science Anywhere: Basics of Biosecurity resource from MSU Extension.

The final article in this series will bring all the principles of CHIP together.

Other articles in this series by MSU Extension include:

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